Quick thoughts on Xavier’s 81-79 win:
how did that happen
Indiana was on its heels early on at the Cintas Center. The Knights, clearly poised in the first marquee game of the season, came out shooting offensively. Xavier led as many as nine players in the first half thanks to his fine shooting performance. The Knights scored 1.12 points per possession in the first 20 minutes and shot 50 percent from behind the 3-point arc. However, the Hoosiers fought back when Xavier landed an offensive punch. He didn’t hold back Trace Jackson-Davis in the first half, scoring 17 points in 17 minutes. Despite a poor defense in the first half, Indiana went into the locker room trailing by just two at 40-38.
The Hoosiers were shaky to start the second half and built an eight-point lead at 54-46 from the 14:29 mark. But Reno’s owner was whistled for a technical foul after scoring a bucket, and Xavier hit two free throws and nailed a 3-pointer to make it a 3-point game by 13:49. Xavier tied it at 57 on a putt by Jack Nunge and then again at 60 on a 3-pointer by Adam Kunkel with 9:47 remaining. The Knights regained the lead on Zach Fremantle’s jump shot with 7:50 to play. After Fremantle was dunked with 6:35 left, Indiana went on a 6-0 run to take a 71-66 lead, forcing Xavier to take a timeout. The run was started by Xavier Johnson, who hit two free throws and then stole and blocked the ball. Indiana led 73-66 into a media timeout. Miller Cobb, who struggled for most of the game, hit a three-pointer to give Indiana a 78-70 lead with 2:25 to play.
The Knights, however, were not finished. Xavier scored the next five points to make it 78-75 with 1:51 remaining. Kopp hit two free throws to make it 80-75 with 1:50 to play. On the ensuing possession, Johnson fouled Sully Baum, who made one of two free throws to make it 80-76 with 1:44 left. Jalen Hood-Cheffino missed a jump shot with 1:16 to play, and Xavier called a timeout with 1:10 to play. After the timeout, Boom dropped a three-pointer with 56.5 seconds remaining. Indiana handed it over with just over 34 seconds to play, but the Hoosiers got the ball back on the ball with 24 seconds left. Xavier fouled Renault with 12.9 seconds left. He missed free throws. Kunkel missed a layup with just over four seconds left, and Johnson grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Johnson made one of two free throws and IU escaped with an 81-79 victory.
It was a dominant performance from Jackson-Davis, who scored a game-high 30 points on 13-of-16 shooting in 37 minutes. The preseason All-American also had three blocked shots. Johnson added 23 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 29 minutes.
Indiana outgained Xavier 15-9 in points from turnover and 50-40 in the paint.
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